How to win the Super Bowl on the social media front in 2019?
Note – This post was first published in 2018, it has been most recently updated in January 2019.
It’s that time of the year again when millions of people throng in front of their television sets to watch the game that cannot be named. There’s no other event in America that attracts such an enormous audience. Not only are they glued to their TV screens, but they’re peeking at their smartphones to engage in social media chatter. In 2018, 48 million people joined in on the Super Bowl conversation on Twitter and Facebook. This kind of an audience is opportune for brands.
This year the Super Bowl saw an audience base of 103.4 million people and 170.7 million social media interactions. With this kind of viewership, it has become imperative for brands to reference the Super Bowl in their posts and ads to reach out the Super Bowl fans.
Marketers are now using social media to capitalize on the premier event of the year rather than shelling out millions for a 30 second Super Bowl ad. Digital media has made it easier and more importantly, cheaper for them to advertise during the Super Bowl.
Brands sneakily talking about the Super Bowl is no big secret. Twitter recently announced a separate award for non-sponsors that score great engagement on Twitter on their Super Bowl content. Like in the past, we decided to dig deeper around the pool of Big Game mentions on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in 2018 using Discover.
To understand how brands could leverage the Super Bowl while still flying under the radar of the NFL lawyers, we fired up Unmetric Discover. Searching through hundreds of thousands of Super Bowl-related branded content we came across some common trends. Let’s dive in:
Considering the fact that antacid sales see a spike after the game day, it need not be emphasized that the Super Bowl is pretty much all about the food. It is second only to Thanksgiving when it comes to food consumption and brands capitalize on it. Facebook and Instagram are the preferred platforms.
Facebook has killed engagement bait, but brands have for the longest time benefited from them. It’s one of the simplest ways to increase engagement with fans on social media. Large brands like Lidl US and Walmart have done it in the past.
First of all … we‘d like to present some superior bowl options. Please let us know your thoughts #SB52:
— LidlUS (@LidlUS) February 4, 2018
Brands tag on to the Super Bowl frenzy by offering discounts as big as 50%.
Twitter has been a traditional favorite for contests. This time, even the hospitality industry jumped onto the Twitter contests bandwagon with Marriott rewards offering their customer reward points.Esurance got two million people to tweet about their contest without even having an official ad spot. Smaller brands have also been successful in getting better outreach through contests.
— Esurance (@esurance) February 8, 2016
What's the highest number of points scored by any team in the first quarter of a Super Bowl? Answer with #RewardsPoints by 6am EST on 2/5 and score 500 points if you get it right. #SBLII pic.twitter.com/gcxd9j6urw
— Marriott Rewards (@MarriottRewards) February 4, 2018
High profile celebrities are the key ingredient in popular Super Bowl ads. Brands are now increasingly building their digital strategy around influencers to increase their outreach.
View this post on Instagram
@JustinTimberlake wears custom @StellaMenswear for his #SuperBowl half-time show headline tonight, making history as the first person to perform three times. The pieces are inspired by the upcoming Autumn Winter 2018 collection. . #StellaMenswear #PepsiHalfTime #MOTW #StellaMcCartney
— Universal Orlando Resort (@UniversalORL) January 30, 2018
Instagram has been a fertile ground for beauty brands and it doesn’t change with football season either.
View this post on Instagram
#Philadelphia's cold temps & #SuperBowl excitement can't stop @carlysmith8699's curls from thriving. We know she reaches for Ultra Defining Gel to make sure her perfectly patterned curls stay in place & we're pretty positive we know which team this #curlygirl is cheering for tonight! Who do YOU have winning? . . . #NaturallyCurly #CurlyGirl #HealthyHair #TempleUniversity #TempleMade #SB52 #SB
Are you ready for the big game? Check out our MVPs!!! #playbeautifull
People love their furry friends and it’s no surprise that many of the most shared Super Bowl content have animals in them.
Other strategies that worked
With an ever-increasing amount of content being published during the Super Bowl season, brands channel their creative demons to produce a hotpot of marketing strategies. There’s no single formula for hitting it big with social media and it certainly requires some luck as well.
In 2014, beer brand Newcastle Ale decided it would make a Super Bowl ad that acknowledged that it couldn’t afford to advertise during the Super Bowl. It hired actress Anna Kendrick, who jokes in the video that she isn’t “beer-commercial hot.” Their integrated campaign included a microsite, trailers and behind-the-scene videos amounting to more than 10 million views.
— Anna Kendrick (@AnnaKendrick47) January 31, 2014
They did it again in 2015 with more sass.
— Aubrey Plaza (@evilhag) January 13, 2015
A rap face-off between two internet legends, Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman, with a catchy take on ‘A Song of Fire and Ice’ seems to be a recipe for success and massive social engagement. Dinklage and Freeman represented two products of the same brand (Doritos and Mountain Dew respectively).
— Doritos (@Doritos) February 5, 2018
Amazon’s Super Bowl commercial where Alexa lost her voice had a star-studded cast filling in for her which took the internet by storm. Gordon Ramsay at his charming best yells at a customer who asks for a recipe while Cardi B is puzzled by the weird questions people have for Alexa. They even had a surprise cameo by their CEO, Jeff Bezos. This ad reached over 2 million Super Bowl viewers and gained massive engagement on social media.
— Amazon Echo (@amazonecho) February 2, 2018
In fact, the commercial was so popular that it had other brands like Avocados from Mexico, make a play on it which got them almost a 1000 interactions on Twitter.
— Avocados From Mexico (@AvosfromMexico) February 5, 2018
Mucinex had over 4 million people view their video on Twitter. Referring to the day after Super Bowl Sunday as Super Sick Day, scored this brand some brownie points with their fans in the form of interactions and views leading to better brand visibility
— Mucinex (@Mucinex) January 30, 2018
The Super Bowl campaign by the brand is set in the medieval ages with the Bud Knight congratulating the Eagles of Philadelphia. The humorous tinge to the video with the medieval accent made #DillyDilly go viral with 1.1 Million Google searches of the same.
— Bud Light (@budlight) January 22, 2018
Here are some of our fan favorites:
The key to engaging your audience around Super Bowl is to make sure you have a handle on these three things:
- Listen to what your audience is engaging with on social media. Are they more into recipes or do they like funny memes?
- Look out for what your competitors are talking about
- Try something different to stand out from the rest of your competition.
- Display ads and social media content that is relevant to Super Bowl
Get more ideas for big live events by trying out Discover a searchable database of over 700 million pieces of brand content published by over 100,000 major brands in the last five years.